One thing you can rely on with PlayStation Mobile is that you’ll never be short of puzzle games to add to your collection. With every weekly update to the PSN Store you can almost be certain to see at least one or two puzzle games amongst the new releases on offer for PSM. Some are based on existing game formats, some are bland and offer very little in the way of character or personality and then you have the cuter, more charming titles – and this is where Quirkat’s latest offering comes in…
You might not think it at first, but Buba isn’t the most glamorous of game heroes. Let’s face it, he’s a bug… a beetle in fact, living his life out quite happily in beetle land.He had something of a fixation in life though – a passion for collecting seeds and this is where we join his escapades… Onto the game itself and it takes the form of a top down view of a garden environment split into a series of squares. Each of these comprises of either grass or stone and you have to move Buba across these using the analogue stick, d-pad or touch screen to collect all of the seeds that are on the level. All you have to do is collect all of them in as few moves as possible to progress through the game’s 50 levels.
Sounds simple? It would be if it weren’t for a few curveballs that the game throws at you to make things a little more complicated. Firstly, although it defies the laws of physics, on later levels the grass changes to concrete behind you as you walk over it and in the earlier stages this causes Buba complications as he isn’t able to walk over anything other than grass meaning that you need to plan out your route carefully before you set off on your journey on each level as you can’t go back over any areas you have already walked on. This changes later in the game when switches appear on later levels changing him into a different type of beetle that can’t walk on grass and then the concrete changes as Buba traverses it. By using a combination of switches and re-treading your path over grass and concrete you can eventually collect all the seeds on each level.
The game eases you into the puzzles gently with the earlier stages offering a tutorial on the controls and the mechanics of how the puzzles and all of the elements operate and after that you’re on your own. While some of the earlier levels are quick and easy to solve the latter ones become fiendishly difficult and will have you tearing your hair out to solve them but while they’re frustrating, it’s never to the point that you’ll want to quit in anger. If you do get stuck at any point, there’s a helpful restart option or an undo option to retrace your steps although the total number of moves you have taken to solve the puzzle still remain intact. At the end of each puzzle, your total moves are logged and you’re given a rating out of three stars. As with most puzzle games of this nature, you’ve got the option to replay any level at your leisure so you can always go back at a later date to try to better your performance on any of them.
Between most of the levels the story of Buba and how he is treated by the rest of his fellow beetles evolves as text on screen and while this isn’t really an essential part of the game I strangely found it to be a welcome addition and it really helped to bring the game to life in a way I wasn’t expecting. Visually is the same and the graphics are remarkably charming. There’s no need here for anything too elaborate for a game of this nature, but everything is well drawn, extremely well presented and Buba himself is highly detailed and well animated. The only thing I did notice was a glitch with some of the text which meant that there was some slight distortion to some of the letters at times for on-screen text but not to the extent that anything was unreadable so it is is something that could be overlooked.
Special mention has to go to the sound though. As well as some wonderfully atmoshperic music from Allister Brimble and Anthony Putson, the game is filled with wonderful sound effects throughout. The background is filled with the sounds of nature – birds chirping, inscects, wildlife and as for Buba himself… sound for him is equally impressive whether it are the tiniest of footsteps to the cute cheers and groans he makes as he completes levels or gets stuck realising he can’t progress any further. The game is loaded with charm and you can’t help but smile while you play.
Buba is a fantastic puzzle game and is incredibly addictive. Like all good puzzle games of this ilk, it’s quick and easy to pick up so anyone could start playing this within moments but offers enough complexity to give any gamer a serious challenge. It looks and sounds great and plays just as well and is a game that is worthy of anyone’s attention. An essential purchase for all puzzle game fans.
At A Glance
- Title: Buba
- Publisher: Quirkat
- System: PlayStation Mobile
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 68Mb